WP Profit Builder
Today Im taking a look at WP Profit Builder by Sean Donahoe
Astute readers will notice that this review is different than most others. Notice there is no pro / con section. There is no rating section. Also there is no approved / or disapproved stamp on the bottom of the article. Why? Well this review is unique among all of the reviews I have done in the past in that while I did get a review copy of this product I never got to test it. I never got to test it because I couldn’t get it to work. Well to be fair I could have gotten it to work, though it would have taken a decent amount of work from me, work that I know a lot of people would be unable or unwilling to do, so I did not do it either. Let me explain.
First before I dive into that to much I want to explain what Profit Builder is. WP Profit builder is a software that lets you build custom landing, squeeze, and sales pages on your WordPress site. It comes in two versions, as a theme and as a plugin. Also it comes with 60 premade templates and it promsses some advanced features. I did not consider this a competitor with my own SqueezeMatic software since SqueezeMatic is not a WordPress plugin.
I was impressed by a JV demo of this product and thought it might be something my readers could use. So I did what I always do. I asked for a review copy. The review access I was given was via a membership site. In my mind the plugin version is the most flexible and viable since you can use it on an existing website so I downloaded the plugin and went to installing it on my testing blog.
Right from the door I ran into a problem. You see this plugin is encrypted with ION Cube. What is ION Cube? Its a system for encrypting PHP code (and then decrypting it on the fly at run time). The reason to use ION Cube is so that people cant read your code and steal your functions. Basically its a copyright protection system. Unfortunately it can also cause some real problems for a lot of people.
For example I initially ran into a problem because this plugin was encoded with a version of ION Cube that requires PHP 5.3 , where my server is running PHP version 5.2.
Now I will be the first to admit that PHP 5.2 is a bit old. However several well known hosts still have PHP 5.2 set as the default PHP parser because a lot of other software that is still in use requires it. Upgrading the shard HostGator hosting that my blog is on is very easy. It can be done through cPanel in about 3 minutes. Because its simple I really did not think it would be a big problem for most users. So I upgraded my sites PHP version and went back to testing the plugin. Also I really did not have much choice at this point since I couldn’t uninstall the plugin, since the uninstall function is also encoded with ION Cube and thus would not run on my server unless I upgraded the PHP version.
Unfortunately this was not the end of my problems. You see in order for ION Cube to be decoded your host needs to have the ION Cube loader installed as a PHP extension. While most hosts will permit it to be installed on their servers a lot of hosts dont have it installed by default. You have to do it yourself.
Now ION Cubes website says that ‘most good hosts will have ION Cube’. Well some really big names dont have it installed by default. Some of these are HostGator, GoDaddy, DreamHost, 1and1 Hosting, BlueHost, iPage and several others. In fact based on my research most of the top hosting company’s dont have ION Cube. While these hosts normally will let you have it, they dont have it installed by default. That’s up to you.
Also ION Cube itself is not going to be much help at all with getting it installed. They seem to think that its your hosts responsibility to instruct you on how to install their software. Nice attitude ION Cube.
No I’m a fairly adept person when it comes to technical things and I’m quite sure that I can install ION Cube loader on just about any host I will say that for the novice it can be a real pain. While for some hosting company’s its just an annoyance on others its a bit difficult. Here is what DreamHost has to say about installing the ION Cube loader for example:
Is this software really worth the trouble? Well there are a lot of other page builders out there that don’t require all of this work just to get installed so Im not so sure it is.
At this point I decided to contact Dylan Kingsberry the affiliate manager for this launch and let him know about my concerns that people are going to have trouble with this being encoded with ION Cube.
He indicated that they are having trouble with ION Cube as well and will be removing it. This made me quite happy since I’m sure its going to be an issue for a decent portion of the people who buy this product.
I asked him to send me an unencrypted version of this plugin once it was ready so I could proceed with my normal product testing routine. However after a couple of days waiting I still did not get it. So I contacted Dylan again and asked him if he had it ready for me yet. The answer I got was, disappointing.
So here we are back to where we started now. Only now Im aware that the creators of this plugin not only know that ION Cube can cause problems for people trying to install this software, I know that they also had problems with it themselves. As a software developer myself I totally understand the desire that they have to protect their work however the steps they take to do it should not cause the user a hardship. The customer must always come first and ease of use (including installation) is very important. ION Cube is not required to make this software work. It has no functional value. Its just a security encryption that they chose to implement.
So what is my final opinion on this product? Well honestly I dont have one. I never got to test it (even though I do have a copy). Quite frankly installing ION Cube on my server would be a real pain, even for someone who understands the technical aspects (like myself). I will make this suggestion though. If you choose to purchase this product do not do it as an impulse buy. First make sure your server is going to be able to run the ION Cube loader. To do this your host will need to be running PHP version 5.3 at least. Your host will also need to have the ION Cube loader extension installed or if it does not it will need to allow you to install it yourself. If you need to install it yourself I would also check to see what is involved with installing it before you make your purchase. Once you know your running the correct version of PHP and know you either have the ION Cube loader or are comfortable with installing it on your host, you can then start to consider if this product is worth buying.
UPDATE: The ION Cube requirement has been REMOVED from this product! While I wont claim that this decision was made primarily because of my article Id like to think that it was made at least in part because of it. Either way though the important thing is that it has been removed. As such this article no longer applies to this product.